fiction

Me and You: A Review

Me and You by Niccolò Ammaniti

Published by Grove/Atlantic Inc

Out February 7, 2012

 

Synopsis

Lorenzo Cuni is a fourteen-year-old loner. His wealthy parents think he is away on a school skiiing trip, but in fact he has stowed away in a forgotten cellar. For a week he plans to live in perfect isolation, keeping the adult world at bay. Then a visit from his estranged half-sister, Olivia, changes everything.

The story is set mainly in Rome in the year 2000, and though I’d love to read about the beauty of Rome, most of the scenery mentioned is that of the forgotten cellar that Lorenzo retreats to for one week. The cellar is dank and musty and yet to Lorenzo, nothing could be better. This is where the reader finds out much of Lorenzo’s life. He is an outcast in school and when he hears of the popular kids going skiing for a week he desperately wants to go as well (he tricks his mother into thinking he went skiing with said popular kids). Not only does Lorenzo really like to ski, he’s good at it and he wants to show everyone else that he is too. Readers young and old can relate to this part of the story easily. There is a point in adolecense and even adulthood where one is stuck trying to find oneself and Niccolò Ammaniti emulates that feeling very well through Lorenzo. Seeing things as Lorenzo sees them is quite gripping especially when Olivia, reluctantly, comes to stay in the cellar with him. The story is not only about adolecense and finding a place where one belongs, it is also about family, addiction, and broken promises.

Lorenzo and Olivia’s characters seem completely different at a first glance. Lorenzo is just a fourteen-year-old boy hanging out in a cellar for a peaceful week of video game playing, while Olivia is frantically searching for money in all of her old boxes to fulfill her addiction to drugs. Although both characters went to the cellar to find two completely different things, they both left the cellar with an infinite understanding of one another. Lorenzo’s character is so strong for a fourteen-year-old, dealing with the lack of friends, a sister whom he hardly knows and desperately needs to help, and yet, it is very believable because he is still vulnerable.

Lastly, the quality of writing that Ammaniti puts on display is superb. It is simplistic and real and there certainly is not anything I question while reading except, maybe, “Why can’t I write like that?”

Overall: Add this one to your queue of books to read. This is a well-written novel and definitely deserves a read. Like I said before, readers young and old will like this book not only because of the quality but also because of how relatable the story really is.

endless queue Awards!: The Best Read Books in 2011

Welcome to the endless queue Awards! I have compiled a list of what I consider to be the best of 2011. This list is primarily titles that have been published in 2011, although there are a few that I have read this year that are not but are included in the “best of” list. Let me know what your best of 2011 is in a comment!

Best YA Series: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

One of the most well-written and thought-out YA series.

 

 

 

Best YA Novel: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Copyright 2011)

The best real photos in a book-period.

 

 

 

Best Debut Novel: Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson (Copyright 2011)

Anyone who has read my review of this one knows how much I love this novel.  It’s completely gripping and utterly fantastic.

 

 

 

Best Cover Art: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor (Copyright 2011)

I absolutely love the masquerade-like cover, it’s stunning.

 

 

 

Best Mystery Novel: In the Woods by Tana French (Copyright 2007)

Easy to stick with and one of the best mysteries I’ve ever read.

 

 

 

Best Fantasy Novel: Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (Copyright 2007)

I’m normally not one to really want to read a fantasy novel, but this series is epic and most definitely a must read.

 

 

 

Best Children’s Pictorial/Short Story: The Chronicles of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg (Copyright 2011)

Outstanding illustrations with equally outstanding, yet incredibly creepy, short stories by renown authors such as: Stephen King, Lois Lowry, and Chris Van Allsburg himself.

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” (p. 31) Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (Copyright 2000) [I cannot choose the best quote from a book, but this is one of the best!]

Witches of East End

Witches of East End 

Copyright 2011 by Melissa de la Cruz

Witches, vampires, and magic are still very prominent in our culture and many people jumped on the vampire bandwagon, myself included.  Seeing as how vampires have over populated the science fiction/fantasy world, I thought I would give the topic of witches a try.  When I think of novels about witches, I think primarily of The Witching Hour by Anne Rice which to me, is hard to beat.  I’m certainly not comparing Melissa de la Cruz to Anne Rice at all, but I think going into reading Witches of East End, I had higher expectations and I was let down.

It’s so hard to even begin stating what went wrong with this novel.  The three witches that the story revolves around are completely predictable along with the men in their lives. Freya is a sexy witch who falls in love with an equally sexy man.  Of course, that sexy man has a dark and handsome brother who Freya can’t seem to stay away from.  Ingrid is her plain Jane sister who has yet to fall in love with a man while Joanna, their mother, takes care of them all.  Each witch has a special ability and so on. These witches, who have been forced to keep their powers a secret, desperately try to figure out the mysterious things that have been happening in their town of North Hampton without drawing attention to what they are.  The story doesn’t pick up until about 3/4 of the way through and even then it’s nothing to rave about.

Because I found this novel to be entirely too predictable, it was very slow moving.  Cruz’s writing just did not seem up to par.  The dialogue was not natural and character development just wasn’t there.  I really had to push myself to finish this one. If the dialogue was at least believable it would have been a lot more tolerable, it was just too distracting and even laughable at times.

Overall this book was just not a good read.  I may pick up another one of her titles and give it a go and see how things compare.  Cruz is a New York Times Bestselling author and I completely respect her for that, but this novel just wasn’t for me and had some areas that needed work.

Check out Melissa de la Cruz’s website: http://www.melissa-delacruz.com/